As you age, your eyesight becomes an extra-important part of staying independent. Poor vision can affect your ability to do things like live on your own, drive a car, find your way around new places, and read. Contact lenses are one of many options for correcting vision, but are they a good solution for older adults?
They can be. With guidance from an eye doctor, many adults over 60 successfully wear contacts. They’re a convenient way to correct your vision. If you’ve had trouble wearing contacts in the past, new innovations may allow you to wear them and enjoy better vision.
Types of Contact Lenses
There are three main kinds:
Gas permeable lenses. These are rigid, but they allow oxygen to reach your eyes. They may be harder to get used to, but they can be a good option if you have dry eyes.
Soft contact lenses. These lenses are soft and pliable, so you may find them more comfortable. They don’t allow as much oxygen in, so you may have to use eye drops if your eyes get irritated.
Hybrid contact lenses. This type of lens has a rigid, gas-permeable center surrounded by a soft edge for comfort. They provide the benefits of gas permeable and soft lenses in one package.
Within these three main types of lenses are different varieties that may suit your needs. Your doctor can help you choose the kind that’s right for you. Many different materials and shapes have been developed to address sensitivity, astigmatism, and presbyopia. You may even be able to select a new eye-color for your lenses.
Personal Considerations for Contact Lens Use
Talk to your eye doctor about things like these:
- Fit. Getting the correct contact lens fit is usually a trial-and-error process, and it may take several tries to find what’s right for you.
- Contact Care. Handling small lenses takes some fingerwork. If you have any hand problems related to other health conditions, contacts may not be your best option.
- Cost. You’ll need to buy accessories like lens holders, cleaning solution, eye drops, and replacement lenses (in the case of disposable contacts).
- Lifestyle. Contact lens users can get eye irritation from dry, dusty conditions. If you live or work in dry areas with lots of dust, you may need to have eyeglasses, in addition to contact lenses, to wear for work.
If you decide contact lenses aren’t right for you, talk to your eye doctor about other ways to correct your vision, like:
- Eyeglasses. They’re a convenient way to correct vision, and they’re comfortable for most older adults. If you lead an active lifestyle, you may find glasses hard to keep track of. Fit and cost are also important to consider.
- Surgery. Conventional and laser surgery procedures may help correct some eye problems.
- Medicine. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to relieve some vision problems. These may be in the form of eye drops or oral medications.